Thursday, May 16, 2013

Update # 2

On Monday afternoon, Carol & I sat in a small consultation room at the Mayo Clinic, and a very solemn faced doctor apologetically gave us the very bad news. Based on results from blood samples taken that morning, it appeared that the stem cell transplant had failed to alleviate the cancer. She was bewildered and obviously felt very badly for us, but could offer no explanation. We would sample again in June, and make plans to attack the cancer via chemotherapy. It's not just going back onto chemo that was the bad news - it was loss of a nice number of years off of the survival timeline, whatever that timeline might be.

On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, after returning to Dallas, we spoke to the same doctor via telephone calls and got just the opposite news. She had received results of the bone marrow biopsy, and just as bad as the blood analysis was in the bad direction, so was the bone marrow biopsy extremely to the good in the good direction. The biopsy showed the cancer to be at 2% or less in the bone marrow, by far the lowest it has ever been since diagnosis (it was 64% at diagnosis, 12% when my blood showed cancer to be the lowest in May 2010, and about 25% prior to the stem cell transplant in January). The bone marrow biopsy declares the transplant to be a success, but no one is using the R word (remission) as of yet.

Officially, we are awaiting another blood sampling to be done in June before any declarations are made, but the Mayo cancer doc is very optimistic. She described the Monday blood sample, in her medical terminology, to probably be "just a flukey test."

So, what has happened? In short, on Monday afternoon we got some very bad news, a lot of people did a lot of praying, and on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons we got some very good news. I did nothing at all to merit this good news. Thanks to all of you for your praying, and please continue to do so. To God be the glory for the great things He has done.

Monday, May 13, 2013

100 day post transplant check up

in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1Th 5:18 NAS)

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psa 34:1 ESV

Today I saw the doctor at Mayo for my 100 day check up following transplant. To say that it didn't go as well as we had hoped would be a serious understatement. To say that it was worse than our worst imaginings would be accurate.

We are still awaiting results of the bone marrow biopsy, but based on analysis of the blood samples, it appears that the transplant had little to no appreciable impact on diminishing the cancer. The cancer is actually higher now than it was when we left here in February, or about half the level it was when we came here in January, and growing at a substantial rate.  For now, the plan is to check the blood again in about a month, and probably resume some form of chemotherapy soon thereafter.

So frequently Christians quip off "praise the Lord" in response to good news, and we should, but a proper understanding of theology is that God is always good, always kind, always loving, and always deserving of the most enthusiastic praise our hearts can ever muster, so in this, too, we give thanks and give praise.

I thank all for their prayers on my behalf. Please keep it up.